Introducing NED Talks!
Network for Educational Development (NED) Talks are an opportunity to highlight and profile a Minnesota State faculty or staff member who has a passion for pedagogy and practice, providing an opportunity to share the good work happening around Minnesota State – and get to know each other!
In the first episode of NED Talks, meet Dr. Brooke Burk, Assistant Professor of Recreation Parks and Leisure Services, and Director of the Center for Excellence for Teaching and Learning at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Pedagogy and Practice
Using and Creating Analogies to Increase Student Understanding
By Catherine Ford
Consider this analogy: Consulting with an instructional designer when building or redesigning a course is similar to working with a 5-star chef when developing or cooking a recipe. The novice cook may be able to follow a recipe and have an understanding of how to use appliances and equipment to create a basic meal, but with the guidance of a 5-star chef, the novice cook learns specific techniques and strategies that enhance the flavor and texture of the food in even the simplest recipes.
Analogies are a tool to make comparisons and can be important strategies to activate the brain, make relationships explicit, and connect to a student’s every day experience (Hammond, 2014; Martin, 2017; McTighe & Willis, 2019). But what if you don’t have familiarity with either or both of the concepts that are being compared? This is the catch.
Our personal experiences and background knowledge is not always the same as our students. In this example, stating that physical brain is like a computer (hardware) and your thoughts are like the computer program (software) only works if we have existing understanding or knowledge about how hardware and software are related. This analogy is likely not helpful if you are not familiar with computers. Although analogies can be incredibly beneficial, we need to have increased awareness about how they are experienced by our students and check our assumptions about our perceived common experiences.
One analogy strategy suggestion is found in Angelo and Cross’s (1993) Classroom Assessment Techniques. Provide the first half of an analogy (A is to B) to students and then ask them to complete it (X is to Y). For example, a thesis (A) is to an essay (B) as ___________(X) is to____________ (Y). To make this strategy require deeper student engagement, add the word “because” to the end of the analogy frame. Asking students to explicitly explain the analogy can lead to deeper comprehension, strengthen neural pathways, and reveal degree of student understanding. Student created analogies can also be used as a formative assessment revealing degree of student learning of new material (McTighe & Willis, 2019).
A variation of this strategy is to ask students to craft an analogy between a studied concept and something in their daily life without providing a frame. This approach places more focus on making the connections more meaningful to the student (Hammond, 2014).
Do you have a favorite analogy that you use with students? Have you considered how it may or may not connect with existing student knowledge or experience? Consider having students use your analogy as a model to adapt and develop their own relating to the same concept. If you have not used analogies before, how might you incorporate the use of analogies in your course? Consider sharing your analogy applications with the Network for Educational Development.
NED Event Highlight
Minnesota State seeks members for a two-year cohort within the MN REFLECT project
The project brings together faculty from across disciplines, institutions, and experience to participate in a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) faculty learning community. Minnesota State MN REFLECT scholars will be supported as they develop, implement, and present research results at a conference or in a journal. Research studies should focus on pedagogical practices that enhance the teaching and student experience. Members should expect to meet virtually (with possible face-to-face meetings in the future) 24 hours per year, and each faculty will receive a 1 RCE per year (2 RCE total) and $1,500 for conference attendance each of the two years ($3,000 total) from their institution. All faculty who are interested in improving the teaching and learning experience are eligible and encouraged to apply.
Participants will meet for a half day retreat in August and September, then monthly (September – November and February – April) to continue progress, share ideas, collaborate, and obtain consultation and support.
This year, MN REFLECT cohorts will be asked to reflect on their teaching, develop SoTL questions, and explore their teaching and students’ learning using a lens of equity. Additionally, applicants may apply as part of a partnership or triad to expand the impact of the work.
Interested faculty members must apply by Friday, April 16, 2021.
Academic Technology Tips
Incorporating Automations in Outlook
By Brock Behling
Outlook, like most Microsoft tools is loaded with hidden tips and tricks that are often under-utilized.
Taking some time to explore new work flows can address inefficiencies that may exist. Returning to a full inbox after a few well-deserved days away can be a dreadful experience.
Here are a few quick tips that you can use to help manage your email clutter and improve your email efficiency.
We hope these tips help spark interest in further exploring the tool’s full potential.
The Shark Tank Open: Innovation Expo
March 2 – April 7, 2021
In years past, the Shark Tank Open featured an Innovation Expo with rooms dedicated to exhibitors who previously received innovation funding.
The 2021 Innovation Expo presentations will be held throughout the month leading up to the 2021 Shark Tank Open (March 2 – April 7, 2021). Review the list of 22 Innovation Expo presentations and register for one or more to learn about innovations occurring across the system.
Share Your Voice
Call for Teach Together Minnesota! Discipline Leads and Student Panel Nominations
Do you feel passionate about facilitating a discussion around equity among colleagues in your discipline? If you would like to be a lead in your discipline group in the upcoming Teach Together Minnesota! event, let us know by filling out the discipline lead interest form. Discipline leads will be prepped with guides and will have opportunities to meet with members of the planning team to answer questions before the main event.
As we prepare for Teach Together Minnesota!, an important part of this day will be hearing directly from students about what is important to them, especially with respect to remote/online teaching and culturally responsive content and pedagogy. We are asking for your help. Can you identify students for this panel? Students will be compensated with a $100 gift card for their participation and we will re-connect with student panelists after the event to hear their feedback and learn more about their ongoing quests in education.